Sports icons around the world do land up in crisis for one or the other reason. In icon-devoid Kashmir, however, they were embarrassing when politics started using them to create a new narrative. That too is a very recent phenomenon. But, not anymore.
Seemingly, Kashmir’s snowshoe racer Tanveer Hussain has changed the situation. Currently in Essex County Jail (Lewis) in USA on a police remand, Hussain was accused of felony and mis-demeanour by an under-age girl and her parents. A marathon runner, apparently a naïve person who does not understand English, Hussain’s was caught by cops in Saranac Lake village, not far away from New York. He has been cooperating with the police.
Right now, Abid Khan, his manager, who accompanied him, is following his case and has also been taken as Hussain’s interpreter by the court that is hearing the case of “first degree” sexual abuse. If convicted, it will be one of the severely embarrassing cases that Kashmir will face in coming days.
The case is not a simple one. It involves many things: the new world order that Donald Trump is preaching about, the resistance the American people are offering, the people’s right to host strangers and, above all, the reputation of Kashmir. Tanveer has been now running for years. With modest background, Hussain, a resident of Rainawari belt, was initially into Rope Skipping but gradually he got into running and, as he would always say, one day he found himself to be a marathon runner. Without any official help at any level or anybody mentoring him, he started representing J&K and eventually became a self made man. He started by winning a bronze. Then he realized that the state sports systems should have supported him. He requested for help and that did not come. In protest he ran for 100 kms from Srinagar to Pahalgam.
That was past. Hussain along with his senior Abid Khan represented India in Italy in 2015 snowshoe championship.
But their flight to New York village was bumpy. Given the fact that President Donald Trump had taken over and he wanted to keep away certain sections of people (read Muslims), US embassy in Delhi denied visa to both of them, Hussain and Khan. The denial was instantly linked to the “new world order” that Trump wanted to enforce. It led to massive campaign and interestingly it involved the New York village that was supposed to host the international event.
As the children of a middle school wrote letters to their senators for granting the duo permission, the village mayor took up the case. Eventually both of them were asked to re-apply and were granted visa. They finally landed as celebrities and were driven by a local hotelier who hosted them for free. Locals raised funds – more than $1600, to fund their travel. They were on the newspaper front pages for most of the days. The event took place and Hussain ended up at somewhere on 114 number.
A day later, police arrested Hussain for his inappropriate behaviour. Khan says Hussain is innocent. Evidences are emerging suggesting it was the girl who jumped over him. Police says they have a rock-solid case. By Monday, Kashmir will know the next twist in the case.
Even if he is acquitted, Saranac, like Kashmir, shall remain disturbed for more time.